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Winter Practice Blues

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Quick background: 

I'm just finishing up my first year of golf. I put in a lot of practice during the months of April - November. I even took a few lessons. I found my best rhythm in the late summer months where I was constantly flirting with scores near 100. I was feeling confident about ball contact and flight, and going into the winter months I felt hopeful that I would be able to maintain my level of progress and pick things back up in the spring (allowing for a short "tune-up" period).

 

Well, I've tried to take advantage as best I can of weather breaks, but I'm finding that I'm doing much much worse than I expected given the layoff.

 

Today for instance, the weather is low 40's with mild wind, so I hit the driving range during lunch... I hit the ball so poorly I wanted to chuck every single damn one of my clubs. If it wasn't a shank, it was chunked or topped. And pretty much every time I've gone to the driving range this winter, it seems as if I were no better than I was a year ago.

 

Now mind you, I've been doing as much as I can indoors... even hitting practice balls in my living room, but its not quite the same, as I need to restrict my swing so I don't hit the ceiling.

 

So why create a thread about this? Well, I'm hoping to hear from other golfers if they've experienced similar decay in their games during the winter layoff months, and how much effort or how long did it take before you were back to where you left off in the summer/fall... I'm particularly interested in hearing about your early years when you were a hi capper like me trying hard to improve, what it took to get back in the swing of things (no pun intended). 

 

Thanks in advance for your input. 

post #2 of 19

I think all of us who live up north, I'm in New York, go through the same thing. Your swing will return faster than you think come spring, at least mine does. I for one hit the range every weekend regardless of how cold it is, even into the 20s. Our range has heaters but even so, it is cold. If it is snowing, like the blizzard we had last weekend, I don't go to the range but instead head to Golfsmith and hit there, beside you get to try all the new gear. I also take lessons in the winter to work out the bugs I picked up during the season. So I guess what I'm saying is I try everything I can to keep my swing up, but it does decay no question about it. It usually take me a couple of rounds in the spring to get back in the swing of things.

post #3 of 19

One local driving range has a golf simulator that is great.   I've joined their league and play once per week.   I also hit the driving range once per month.   I'm also going to start taking yoga classes to help with the flexibility.   I've noticed that each winter, I'm less mobile.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dennyjones View Post

One local driving range has a golf simulator that is great.   I've joined their league and play once per week.   I also hit the driving range once per month.   I'm also going to start taking yoga classes to help with the flexibility.   I've noticed that each winter, I'm less mobile.

 

Yoga is a really good idea. Something I intended on pursuing these winter months but just haven't made the time yet.

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooke119 View Post

I think all of us who live up north, I'm in New York, go through the same thing. Your swing will return faster than you think come spring, at least mine does. I for one hit the range every weekend regardless of how cold it is, even into the 20s. Our range has heaters but even so, it is cold. If it is snowing, like the blizzard we had last weekend, I don't go to the range but instead head to Golfsmith and hit there, beside you get to try all the new gear. I also take lessons in the winter to work out the bugs I picked up during the season. So I guess what I'm saying is I try everything I can to keep my swing up, but it does decay no question about it. It usually take me a couple of rounds in the spring to get back in the swing of things.

 

you sir, are more of a man than I... lol. 

I like the idea of taking indoor lessons... I'll have to shop around for some local packages or offers... anything to keep from losing all of last year's progress.

 

Thanks for the input

post #6 of 19

I use to hate the coming of winter but now I actually welcome it. The winter is my much needed mental break from the game as well as my time to work hard on fundamentals and mechanics. I usually get in my last round of the year around Thanksgiving. From Thanksgiving to New Years day I put the clubs away. No matter what level you play at I think it's a good idea to take a 5-7 week break from the game every year to mentally recharge the batteries. From NewYears to the end of March I begin my work preparing for the upcoming season. Basically I hit the local golf dome once a week working on full swing mechanics. I have a weighted club that I swing at home for 10 minutes a day, and I have a putting area in my basement where I work on putts from the 20 to 5 foot range two to three days a week.

 

As I said before this practice time is dedicated to just basic fundamentals and I usually come out of the gate in April and May shooting some of the lowest rounds of the year in those first couple months. Probably because I'm mentally fresh, eager to play, and my swing is in top form. 

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker0065 View Post

I use to hate the coming of winter but now I actually welcome it. The winter is my much needed mental break from the game as well as my time to work hard on fundamentals and mechanics. I usually get in my last round of the year around Thanksgiving. From Thanksgiving to New Years day I put the clubs away. No matter what level you play at I think it's a good idea to take a 5-7 week break from the game every year to mentally recharge the batteries. From NewYears to the end of March I begin my work preparing for the upcoming season. Basically I hit the local golf dome once a week working on full swing mechanics. I have a weighted club that I swing at home for 10 minutes a day, and I have a putting area in my basement where I work on putts from the 20 to 5 foot range two to three days a week.

 

As I said before this practice time is dedicated to just basic fundamentals and I usually come out of the gate in April and May shooting some of the lowest rounds of the year in those first couple months. Probably because I'm mentally fresh, eager to play, and my swing is in top form. 

 

Sounds like a great routine. The golf dome is an enviable commodity. I'm really surprised we don't have one here in the philadelphia/southern Nj area, that would really help. 

 

Question for you: Do you recall what it was like when you were a beginner... making the adjustment from those winter months?

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooke119 View Post

I think all of us who live up north, I'm in New York, go through the same thing. Your swing will return faster than you think come spring, at least mine does. I for one hit the range every weekend regardless of how cold it is, even into the 20s. Our range has heaters but even so, it is cold. If it is snowing, like the blizzard we had last weekend, I don't go to the range but instead head to Golfsmith and hit there, beside you get to try all the new gear. I also take lessons in the winter to work out the bugs I picked up during the season. So I guess what I'm saying is I try everything I can to keep my swing up, but it does decay no question about it. It usually take me a couple of rounds in the spring to get back in the swing of things.

 

I'm a half hour NW of DC.  I find a covered driving range with heaters.  Actually, if its above 30, or so and dry, I'll even use the outdoor mats.  I find that as long as I wear a ski cap I can get warm enough after a few swings.  

 

I'll even play a round as long as the ground isn't frozen--its not much fun to play off a rock solid ground, and balls fly off the green.  I just walk to keep warm.  

post #9 of 19
Where is this covered range near DC? I'd love to go...
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ORazor View Post

Where is this covered range near DC? I'd love to go...

 

Well I'm out around the other side of DC, so I go to Olney Golf Park, but that's a hike from Alexandria.  East Potomac Park/Haines Point has a covered range.  I'm not sure if its heated, though.

 

Edit: Looks like they are covered and heated.  I work in DC, that might be even better for me than Olney:  http://www2.cybergolf.com/sites/courses/layout11.asp?id=691&page=39670

post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by divot dave View Post

 

Sounds like a great routine. The golf dome is an enviable commodity. I'm really surprised we don't have one here in the philadelphia/southern Nj area, that would really help. 

 

Question for you: Do you recall what it was like when you were a beginner... making the adjustment from those winter months?

Hey Dave,

I started in the game at age 9 back in 1975. Growing up in Michigan, winter time was really the hardest because as a kid all I wanted to do was play golf. The biggest problem though was(this is going to sound like one of those "we walked up hill to school both ways",,lol) there were no heated ranges, golf domes, internet(to share or recieve instruction/tips), and very very few people owned a video camera. Pretty much all the tools I use today to keep my swing going in the winter were non-exsistant.

So what did I do? I read a lot of instruction books and golf magazines. Anything and everything I could get my hands on. There was no place to put up a golf net(another item very few people had) in the house so I would stand in front of a full length mirror and practice my swing over and over mostly in slow motion or half speed trying to replicate the positions I needed to be in. Sometimes I would swing a weighted club as well and I would putt to a glass cup in my bedroom. Obviously as a kid I had other interests back then but golf was #1 and I would work on my game 3-4 days a week for about an hour. There was definitely a little more rust on my game back then coming out of winter than there is today but doing just a little each week still helped my game no doubt!

 

As others have suggested I would take a couple lessons and work on your swing when you can. At a minimum get your swing on video and post it here in the swing section if you haven't already done that. There's some really good instructors here at the Sand Trap as well as a lot of other knowledgable guy's that can give you some tips to keep you busy all winter long. Like I said I welcome the winter break nowadays because it's a time where I can really just focus on mechanics/fundamentals and not worry at all about scoring. I think in the summer when players take lessons or work on swing changes they want to rush out and take it to the course before it's fully ingrained. Winter time here in Upstate NY your not taking anything to the course unless you like playing in 2 feet of snow,,,lol!

post #12 of 19

I too struggle with this. I went to the range a month ago and I only made good contact about 5 times, out of a bucket of 75 balls. 

 

Sure hope everything returns to normal, I made great progress last year.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker0065 View Post

Hey Dave,

...As others have suggested I would take a couple lessons and work on your swing when you can. At a minimum get your swing on video and post it here in the swing section if you haven't already done that. There's some really good instructors here at the Sand Trap as well as a lot of other knowledgable guy's that can give you some tips to keep you busy all winter long. Like I said I welcome the winter break nowadays because it's a time where I can really just focus on mechanics/fundamentals and not worry at all about scoring. I think in the summer when players take lessons or work on swing changes they want to rush out and take it to the course before it's fully ingrained. Winter time here in Upstate NY your not taking anything to the course unless you like playing in 2 feet of snow,,,lol!

 

Thanks, 

I decided to take your advice and record a few swings from my last couple trips to the driving range. I've posted them here.

The good news is I haven't hit the ball as abysmally as I did the day I started this thread, but the bad news is I'm still set back quite a bit.

Feel free to chime in with any swing avdice.

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post

 

Well I'm out around the other side of DC, so I go to Olney Golf Park, but that's a hike from Alexandria.  East Potomac Park/Haines Point has a covered range.  I'm not sure if its heated, though.

 

Edit: Looks like they are covered and heated.  I work in DC, that might be even better for me than Olney:  http://www2.cybergolf.com/sites/courses/layout11.asp?id=691&page=39670


Hi, If you are in the Centreville area (western edge of the burbs) there are covered (and heated) driving range bays at Virginia Golf Center. It's at Braddock and Clifton roads.

post #15 of 19
I left NoVA in '04 but Woody's was a pretty quality driving range at the time. It's on route 7 just east of 28 and has heated/covered tees.
post #16 of 19

I have begun working on my fitness, remember the core, dosent take as much time as you would think.  Jump some rope.   There is always time to practice putting indoors, 4 footers ...can you do 10 in a row, how about 15????  Anyone who shoots 100 needs putting improvement.  I swing in my living room , ceilings are high enough to do full wedges...and flat drivers.  Super slow swings...how slow can you go ?

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by weavej2 View Post

I have begun working on my fitness, remember the core, dosent take as much time as you would think.  Jump some rope.   There is always time to practice putting indoors, 4 footers ...can you do 10 in a row, how about 15????  Anyone who shoots 100 needs putting improvement.  I swing in my living room , ceilings are high enough to do full wedges...and flat drivers.  Super slow swings...how slow can you go ?

check, check and check.
thanks for you input. I've been doing basically all you've suggested this winter... hence my frustration whenever I actually get outside and see my ball flight. I should probably do more short game work inside, but 4 kids makes doing that pretty unrealistic at times.
post #18 of 19

I'm in Reading, not too far from you. I do a lot of the things mentioned here as far as swinging at home and exercise. I do think that sometimes my tempo kinda gets thrown off at home. Like I rush a bit. I hit the range Friday and hit balls for the first time in about a month. The first 12 or so were just bad. But once I slowed my tempo down a bit and really swung the club (like you I probably hold back a little at home so I son't somehow break anything) I hit them really well. 

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